A Bitcoin nestled in a bed of black crystals

Police seize record £114m of Bitcoin

Image credit: Executium | Unsplash

Scotland Yard has seized £114m of Bitcoin as part of an investigation into money laundering offences.

The Metropolitan Police said the sum is more than double the amount of cash seized last year and was the largest cryptocurrency confiscation in the UK.

One Bitcoin is currently worth around £25,000, having fallen from a peak in April of £47,126.48, meaning the sum confiscated may have been worth nearly double two months ago.

The Bitcoin value of the assets seized by the force’s Economic Crime Command following up intelligence received about the transfer of criminal assets is not known and the investigation is continuing.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Graham McNulty said: “Every single part of the Met is working to reduce violence on the streets of London as an absolute priority; this includes our financial investigators.

“There is an inherent link between money and violence. Cash remains king, but as technology and online platforms develop, some are moving to more sophisticated methods of laundering their profits. We have highly trained officers and specialist units working day and night to remain one step ahead.”

Bitcoin transactions provide more anonymity to senders and recipients of money as, while the transactions all form part of a large ledger, the wallet addresses of those involved in transactions do not contain identifiable details.

The values of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are in a constant state of flux, with dramatic peaks and troughs a regular pattern of behaviour from month to month.

In May, the price of many cryptocurrencies plummeted overnight after China announced its intention to introduce tighter regulations. Having enjoyed a surging start to 2021, Bitcoin promptly plunged to its lowest value since January, dragging other virtual coins such as Ethereum with it.

The slump in value followed a statement by Chinese financial industry groups banning institutions from offering cryptocurrency registration, trading, clearing and settlement.

Earlier this year, it was revealed that a British digital currency was being considered by a new government taskforce, which would explore the possibility of a national digital currency among a series of possible reforms to boost the fintech sector.

The taskforce will eventually be composed of representatives from the Bank of England and the Treasury. It will examine the possibility of establishing a central bank digital currency – an ‘e-pound’ – and the risks and benefits associated with such a currency.

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